Oversharing; The disclosure of an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life.  

It has happened to all of us at one time or another. The moment when you think to yourself; did I say too much? 

Whether it was planned or not, we all have over shared. It could have been about our history at our last position, that we hated our previous manager, that our sales team was horrible to work with or that our office smelt of garbage. But there’s really no need to get into the negative nitty gritty details, and here’s why:

There Is Harm in Oversharing. It conveys that you are:  

  • Unprofessional 
  • Scattered
  • Attempting To Gain Pity
  • Not Focused

According to a study done by Microsoft, today’s average attention span is 8 seconds. With this being the case, there comes the pressing need to make a lasting great first impression. Companies are looking to see how you can be an asset to their organization in helping them grow. Telling them your life story during a screening call or an interview is completely unnecessary and can be avoided. Let’s discuss how oversharing can happen, and how to avoid oversharing in the future of your professional life. 

Where oversharing can happen: 

Talking about Metrics: When asked about your performance, avoid lengthy wording that undermines your success at the position. Instead of saying something along the lines of, “I wasn’t really the best on my team,” use specific metrics that consolidates your time there and avoids the long winded details. “I was in the top 10 out of 20 sales representatives within my team,” gets the job done smoother. 

Talking about why you left your previous company: Maybe in your past you were overlooked for a role or not promoted within your previous company. Although these moments are great life learning lessons, how you frame them is important. Simply stating that you moved on in order to seek more responsibility, to learn, grow etc. frames things more positively. Instead of focusing on what didn’t happen at your previous position, focus on what you are doing to move forward. Avoid oversharing those unnecessary details that paint you as unfit. 

Talking about your failures: Reflect on what you did well, and not what you didn’t do well. Over explaining makes you look guilty and unqualified for the position. Highlight immediately that you sold $100,000 worth of product in October rather than you missed your quota 2 months in a row last year. 

Talking about your personal life: Yes it is important for the person you are speaking with to know basic information about you. This can involve things they can easily access on social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook. Oversharing can happen if you mention your previous nasty divorce, sexual preferences, or controversial topics. It is great to be honest, but in the future there will no doubt come a more appropriate time to discuss personal details. 

Oversharing happens, we are human. It is important to remember that less can be more. Pausing to reflect on the question at hand and thinking about your answer will help you avoid oversharing and give you the opportunity to prove that you are a qualified candidate. By being specific rather than broad, positive and brief you can successfully avoid oversharing in your professional career.